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Agriculture News

VA:State Forester to Head Virginia Agriculture, Forestry

Lancaster Farming | Posted on January 2, 2018

After more than a decade in the Virginia Department of Forestry, Bettina Ring will be the commonwealth’s next secretary of agriculture and forestry. She will replace Basil I. Gooden in the role that oversees the state’s largest private industry, agriculture, which combined with forestry provides more than 442,000 jobs, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.“We have sustainable farmland and forestland across the state, and we want to make sure it stays healthy and the families stay healthy” managing it, Ring said. “We want to be developing the economy (and) protecting the environment.”

Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program Prepares Future Dairy Farmers

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on January 2, 2018

Now, Mericka is, in a way, paying it forward.He’s hosting an aspiring farmer through the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, or DGA. It acts like a matchmaking service, partnering master farmers with beginning farmers or experienced farmers who want to transition to grazing.It’s his friend, Matt Nielsen, who like Mericka, did not grow up in a farming family. Nielsen has toyed with the idea of becoming a farmer since he was a kid. But before settling down on the farm, he had to get some things out of his system."I’ve been living in Chile the last couple years. I took a big bike trip, and I’ve just kind of seen what I wanted to see," said Nielsen. "But that agitation was always in the back of my mind, calling me. 'Maybe I should try dairy farming again?' I found myself all throughout my travels still reading about dairy farming, still trying to download all these publications about cheesemaking. I thought, 'Well, what am I putting it off for anymore?'"Now that he’s ready to dive in, Nielsen decided DGA was the best way to prepare himself to be a farmer.

Dairy employs 1 million Americans

Hoards Dairyman | Posted on January 2, 2018

“Nearly 1 million people are employed in the United States directly because of dairy,” said former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. That job total includes those employed on dairy farms, those working with dairy farmers, dairy processing, trucking, and other associated sectors.“That employment has a $206 billion economic impact on the U.S. economy,” Vilsack went on to explain to those attending the joint annual meeting of the National Milk Producers Federation, the United Dairy Industry Association, and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board at its gathering in Anaheim, Calif., on November 1.Of that 1 million employed figure, Vilsack estimated that 100,000 of those jobs were directly related to U.S. dairy exports. One day each week, the U.S. now exports all the milk production from its entire dairy herd.

Public attitude to GM crops ‘is medieval’

The Times UK | Posted on January 2, 2018

xperts were told to consider how to improve the Scottish public’s understanding of science after ministers raised concerns about “medieval” debates on genetically modified crops. Papers from 2002 that have just been released reveal that ministers discussed a “general failure by the public to understand scientific processes”.Minutes from a cabinet meeting on May 1, 2002, report a discussion led by Ross Finnie, then minister for environment and rural development, on the GM crop trial at Munlochy on the Black Isle, Easter Ross.A field of modified oilseed rape was subject to a long-running vigil and a farmer was jailed for contempt of court after he refused to name those who had helped him to damage it.The cabinet minutes noted “a ‘medieval’” approach.


Ohio, Pa. agriculture by the numbers (Infographic)

Farm and Dairy | Posted on January 2, 2018

We often take our farmers and the economic impact of local agriculture for granted. But combined, Ohio’s agricultural and food production cluster employed one out of every eight Ohioans in 2015 and contributed $33 billion (5.3 percent) to Ohio’s gross state product, according to a report produced by a team of agricultural economists from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Along with the $33 billion, the state’s agricultural and food production cluster contributed an additional $20 billion to Ohio’s 2015 economy indirectly through farmer payments for various expenses such as rent and accounting services, as well as income that farm employees used to buy goods and services.

Milk oversupply strains market in Wisconsin

Fox News | Posted on January 2, 2018

Some Wisconsin dairy experts say farmers should take a closer look at their contracts as an oversupply of milk is straining the market. Agriculture attorney Troy Schneider told Wisconsin Public Radio that contracts between dairy farmers and milk buyers are usually informal. He says farmers have not had to worry about producing too much milk because buyers were easy to find.However, an oversupply of milk has changed the market and local producers don’t have flexibility.

The real costs of antibiotic-free, slow-growing broilers

Watt Ag Net | Posted on January 2, 2018

A future with only antibiotic-free and slow-growing broilers would be harder on the environment and the economy. In a presentation at the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit, Dr. Matt Salois, director of global scientific affairs and policy for Elanco, outlined the consequences of farmers moving from conventional practices to no antibiotics ever or slower growing broiler production. If standardized, the practices would raise the number of birds needed to feed the same number of people, and lead to the consumption of more natural resources and creation of more pollution. Removing antibiotics from broiler production means higher mortality and greater risk for serious health disorders. Salois said antibiotic-free broilers’ increased mortality ranges between 24 to 25 percent, while grow out time is 3 to 4 percent longer and cycle time is increased by 21 to 29 percent.If the entire U.S. market moved to ABF, 680 million to 880 million more birds would be needed to provide the same amount of meat. Feeding and watering those birds would require 3,900 to 5,200 square miles of additional land for crop farming and 1.9 billion to 3 billion more gallons of fresh water. The same birds would produce 4.6 million to 6.1 million more tons of manure.

Crop and Livestock Price Prospects for 2018

Farm Doc Daily | Posted on January 2, 2018

Crop prices will remain below the high levels seen in the early part of this decade due to large global inventories. Global economic growth continues to build on the momentum seen over the last year. Growth in China and emerging market in Asia is projected to remain strong throughout 2018. The prospects of improved growth support commodity demand, but the significant changes to trade policy could mitigate some of this demand growth in export markets. Lower prices are expected to continue in 2018 barring a shortfall in one of the major production regions.  Livestock markets continue to respond to the growing demand for meat globally and lower feed costs. Prices in the livestock sector look to level out after declining from the highs seen in 2014 and the subsequent supply response. Production levels are expected to increase in 2018.

Consumer perception of dairy cow care

Michigan State University | Posted on January 2, 2018

The public often hears in the media and from special interest groups that animals are housed in poor conditions, treated poorly and forced to perform at high levels. But what do consumers think after they’ve toured a modern, and in some cases, very large modern dairy farm? Not what the media sometimes presents or what some special interest groups want people to believe. In general, 95 percent of consumers leave with a positive or very positive impression about animal housing and 91-96 percent have high or very high trust the dairy farmers will do the right things with regard to caring for their animals. These values represent a large shift from their assessment before their farm visits, especially for those visiting dairy farms for the first time in 20 years.

7th person charged in teen forced labor case at Ohio egg farm

Fox News | Posted on January 2, 2018

 A man accused of taking part in a scheme to smuggle teenagers into the U.S. and force them to work at an egg farm for little pay is in custody after being arrested at the Mexican border, federal prosecutors announced. The teens from Guatemala were kept as virtual slave laborers, forced to turn over most of their earnings, and had to live in run-down trailers with no heat and little food before they were rescued in 2014, investigators have said.Six others already have been convicted in the case, which prosecutors said involved luring the boys and young men with promises of enrolling them in school and finding them good jobs. The indictment said Trillium Farms paid about $6 million to Duran Ramirez and one other unnamed person.The charges against Duran Ramirez include forced labor, conspiracy and encouraging illegal entry. He is scheduled to appear in a federal court in McAllen, Texas, on Friday. An attorney for Duran Ramirez declined to comment on the case Thursday.